Pigment Printing on Polyester Cotton (P/C) Blended Fabric by Using the Direct Style of Printing

Pigment Printing on Polyester Cotton (P/C) Blended Fabric by Using the Direct Style of Printing

Rushikesh Digambar Patil
Department of Textiles (Textile Chemistry)
DKTE’S Textile & Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji, India
Intern at Textile Learner
Email: rushikeshpatil23052002@gmail.com


A pigment is a pigmented material that is insoluble in water or other solvents. As a result, the dye and pigment applications will change. A dye is applied as a solution, whereas the pigment is applied as a paste in an insoluble drying oil. Pigments are insoluble powders with very small particle sizes, as small as 0.01 micron, that is used to impart color and other desirable qualities to paints, plastics, rubber, fabrics, inks, and other materials.

Pigments can be organic (i.e., carbon-based) or inorganic (i.e., non-carbon-based). Inorganic colors are generally brighter and last longer than organic pigments. Organic colors derived from natural sources have been used for ages, however nowadays the majority of pigments are either inorganic or synthetic organic.

Water does not dissolve pigments. Binder, a polymeric, milky liquid, is used to adhere them to any textile substrate.

Polyester pigment printing is usually done with styrene-butadiene-based binders. When the binder polymerizes, it creates a three-dimensional transparent polymeric film that is crosslinked to the textile substrate. Polymerization takes place at an acidic pH. In pigment printing, acid liberating agents such as quaternary ammonium salts and diammonium phosphate are utilized. In pigment printing, thickeners with no or low solid content are appropriate. Synthetic thickeners an oil-in-water type emulsion thickeners are the ideal thickeners for pigment printing.

Style of printing:
Direct style.

Method of printing:
Screen printing method

Process sequence:

Printing with pigment paste

Drying at 80°C

Polymerization at 135-150°C

Print paste ingredients with their role:
Pigment: Binder = 1:2 or 1:5 is used

1. Pigment:
The pigment will only remain on the surface of the fiber due to its high size since it is known as the surface application of Pigment. Pigments are the coloring matter that imparts color on the fabric surface. The following classes of pigments give the following colors-

  • Azo – Yellow, Orange, and red
  • Naphthalene & anthraquinone – orange, red, violet
  • Phthalocyanine – Blue & green

2. Binder:
In pigment printing, the binder film has a three-dimensional structure. During a dry-heat reaction with an appropriate cross-linking agent, a three-dimensional structure or link is created. The binder film polymerizes and transforms into a transparent film.

Binder should have the following properties –

  1. Binder should be elastic
  2. Binder should be flexible
  3. Binder should be transparent
  4. Binder should have compatibility with all chemicals
  5. A suitable acid liberating agent should be added during polymerization to cross-link binder with textile substrate

3. Cross-linking agents:
Cross-linking agents give the film more elasticity and improve its adhesion to the substrate. The cross-linking reaction must result in covalent connections that are resistant to hydrolyzing substances such as washing liquor, body perspiration, and so on. When the binder and printing paste is in storage, the reaction should only be activated during fixing.

4. Thickener:
Conventional thickeners have poor flow characteristics and produce brittle films. Prints made with this thickening are dull, flat, have poor fastness qualities, and are difficult to handle. Emulsion thickening with white spirit emulsifier and mineral oil are ideal for pigment printing however, emulsion thickeners are costly as well as petroleum products hence, we have to use synthetic thickener.

5. Acid liberating agents:
At an acidic pH, polymerization occurs. Acid liberating agents such as quaternary ammonium salts and diammonium phosphate (DAP) are used in pigment printing. During polymerization, acid liberating agents release acid, which accelerates crosslinking of the binder with the textile substrate. Fixer CCL- It is used to fix the pigment with the textile substrate also, to assist the binder it is used.

Preparation of thickener – [Thickener( 5 %)- synthetic ]

We have to prepare a 5 % synthetic thickener.

Recipe– Synthetic thickener (1000 gm)
Synthetic thickener     – 4-5 gm
Water                          – 97 ml
Liquid ammonia          – 2 ml
Total                              100 gm

  1. Firstly take water then add liquid ammonia & stir the solution for 5 to 10 min
  2. Wash the stirrer with water & check its cleanliness because if other chemicals are stuck to it then it will create problems in the thickener
  3. Add synthetic thickener slowly to the solution with continuous stirring
  4. Check the viscosity of the Thickener

Screen printing method:

  1. The fabric is placed on the flat surface of the table, which is composed of soft material.
  2. The screen is then placed on the cloth sample.
  3. The printing paste is applied to the perforation on the screen.
  4. With a smooth wooden strike, the paste is distributed over the screen with light pressure, allowing us to locate the printed cloth. So that the dye particles can pass through the perforation in the screen.
  5. As a result, we have printed fabric.


1. Pigment print paste is prepared by using the following recipe.

Sr NoIngredientsQuantity
1Pigments5 gm
2Binder10 gm or 2 gm
3Diammonium phosphate (DAP)1 gm
4Urea1 gm
5Water4-5 ml
6Fixer CCL2 gm
7Synthetic thickener75 to 80 gm
Total100 gm

2. Print the fabric and dry it properly

3. Carry out polymerization at 135-150°C for 3-5 minutes.

(Note – Due to using of urea and Diammonium phosphate the viscosity of print paste may decrease hence, to maintain its viscosity we should avoid the use of urea if the viscosity is less).

Resin-bonded pigment are used to printing of polyester cotton blended fabric because-

  1. The resin-bonded pigment is suited for any blended fabric because of its strong surface deposition ability.
  2. It is a secure and straightforward procedure.
  3. Pattern recognition is instantaneous.
  4. For polyester-cotton blends, choosing the right binder and pigment is crucial.
  5. Because cotton binders do not adhere well to polyester-cotton blends due to their circular
  6. cross-section, specially designed styrene-butadiene and acrylonitrile-butadiene binders are recommended for pigment printing of polyester cotton blends.
  7. If a sufficient amount of binder is not utilized, the cloth will have a stiff handle.
  8. The qualities of fastness are affected by the amount of binder utilized.

Advantages and disadvantages of pigment printing of polyester cotton blended fabric:

1. It is a straightforward and risk-free procedure.1. Because of the significant amount of binder and cross-linking chemicals required for dark color, the handle of the product may be restricted.
2. Pigments cover absorption imperfections in substrates and can be utilized on substrates with varied ratios of two fibers since pigments cover each fiber equally.2. Using chlorinated hydrocarbons to dry clean is also likely to impair color depth.
3. The prints have a very sharp edge and limitless color options, i.e. there is a vast selection of pigments to choose from.3. The application of pigment and binder to the surface of fibers reduces the natural luster of the printed portion of the fabric.
4. Because no washing is necessary, sensitive materials can also be simply printed.4. Abrasion marks appear during wear on polyester-cotton blend collars and cuffs that have been printed with pigments.
5. Abrasion at creases occurs frequently, especially when garments are washed in a machine (Machine wash).

Resultant sample:

Resultant sample of pc pigment printed fabric

Pigment printing on polyester cotton has gained popularity in recent years due to its ease of use, adaptability to any substrate, brilliancy of prints, and low water usage due to the lack of washing and after treatments, resulting in less load on effluent treatment and improved print economics.

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  5. Producing Carbonized Prints on A Polyester Cotton Blended Fabric by Using Disperse Dye

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